Recovery, Hope and Renewal in Post-COVID World

Press release from Khalid Ali, Film and Media Correspondent

Lost Connections Archive-based film (UK, 2021).

An echo of our contemporary experiences, Lost Connections is a new archive-based film which gives future hope by connecting with the past. The film includes a remarkable selection of footage and voices collected over a century. In its imaginative way, the film responds to the last 18 months when the pandemic forced many of us to stop, to reflect, to question and to re-assess what is most important in our lives.

Lost Connections is a unique collaboration led by the Yorkshire Film Archive and the moving image archives of Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the nine English regional film archives. The film was supported by Film Hub North on behalf of the BFI Film Audience Network (through National Lottery funding). It screened in schools across the UK as part of the ‘Into Film’ ‘Mental Health and Wellbeing campaign’ on Into Film+ on 21 September.

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Created by Andy Burns, editor and filmmaker at the Yorkshire Film Archive, the 13-minute short film is meticulously crafted from over 200 films put forward by the archive curators on film, video, and born-digital formats. The narration is co-written, with Burns, and performed by artist Hussina Raja, who responds to the imagery with a common and recurring narration throughout the film: ‘Can we always be connected?’. The film asks the all-important question; are we the only generation to have asked these questions?

Revealing common experiences over the generations of loss, loneliness, isolation, the importance of community, of family, of human touch, the archive footage uncovers imagery and voices that resonate with the feelings of uncertainty and disconnection, and convey a collective desire for reconnection with people, community, and nature. Lost Connections is a film about the human character, sadness, and joy, what we really value, and our gradual reconnection with each other, our communities, and the world around us.

Graham Relton, Archive Manager at the Yorkshire and North East Film Archives said: ‘Lost Connections presented an opportunity for twelve moving image archives across the UK to come together in a truly collaborative way to explore their collections with one specific purpose; to create a new film revealing archive footage and voices from our collections that reflected on our own contemporary experiences. The result is a work of cine-poetry, that is truly diverse and representative of the people of the UK. It is not a film about the pandemic, it’s a film about humanity and hope. It might take the past as its reference point, but Lost Connections speaks to our collective responsibility to build better futures.’

Andy Robson, Screen Heritage Producer, BFI Film Audience Network, Film Hub North says, ‘Lost Connections is a salient and emotional reminder of the parallels between our past and our most recent experiences. This creative production using compelling archive footage and voices, uniquely brings together the National and Regional Archives and brilliantly showcases the riches of our public film collections. The film offers multiple reflections on the journey of the last 18 months, and I’m sure it will spark hopeful conversations for the way ahead.’

Joe Ursell, Curation Manager, Into Film, ‘at Into Film we are passionate about the power of archive film to connect young people to our past and open up new ways of understanding the community around them. As soon as we saw Lost Connections, we were struck by its deeply moving tone and potential to encourage personal and collective reflection from young people around mental health and their responses to the last 18 months. We’re proud to be able to bring Lost Connections to young audiences across the country on the Into Film+ platform and can’t wait to learn about the conversations the film generates in classrooms up and down the UK.’

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